Book Review: The Disappearing Spoon

The Disappearing Spoon

Sam Kean


In his 2010 book The Disappearing Spoon, Sam Kean embarks on an impressive feat: making the periodic table of elements exciting. In themed chapters, Kean chronicles the romantic, historical, political, and biological tales of the elements and the brilliant minds who discovered and experimented with them. Kean answers questions you never knew you had, such as how to hide a Noble Prize from the Nazis and how to revolutionize the pen industry. The book explores the stories of scientists like Curie and Bohr whose names and accomplishments should be familiar to everyone who took high school chemistry. But he doesn't stop there. Even the most scientific minds among us will enjoy Kean’s clever and personable accounts of the bright people who have tangoed with the periodic table through the decades. In short, The Disappearing Spoon is a worthwhile read if you're looking for a book that’s fun and enlightening, even if it's only to uncover the elemental curiosity of its namesake